Pro­test­ers slam ‘fox hunt’ rul­ing

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

FOX hunt ac­tivists have slammed the de­ci­sion by CPS not to charge any­one after res­i­dents claimed a pack of fox­hounds caused may­hem in a quiet street.

Cheshire Po­lice launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion after an al­le­ga­tion that the dogs chased a fox – which was later found dead in a back gar­den in Mac­cles­field.

Res­i­dents told of pan­de­mo­nium when the pack of an­i­mals came hurtling across a field and into Pen­ning­tons Lane on Feb- ru­ary 25. A video of the in­ci­dent recorded by Cheshire Mon­i­tors, the anti-fox hunt cam­paign­ers, was pro­vided to po­lice.

Now after a three­month probe, the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice has de­cided no one in­volved from Cheshire For­est Hunt will be charged be­cause there was ‘ not enough ev­i­dence to pro­vide a re­al­is­tic prospect of a con­vic­tion’.

Cheshire Mon­i­tors has hit out at the de­ci­sion.

A spokesman said: “The Hunt­ing Act needs re writ­ing to close its many loop­holes.

“What any gov­ern­ment should be do­ing now is to­tally ban­ning all forms of hunt­ing for sport rather than mak­ing it le­gal again.”

The Hunt­ing Act 2004 makes it an of­fence to hunt a wild mam­mal with dogs.

How­ever in or­der to com­mit an of­fence a per­son must in­ten­tion­ally hunt the an­i­mal. The of­fence can­not be com­mit­ted by ac­ci­dent.

Prose­cu­tors said that a re­view of the video footage de­ter­mined it was in­suf­fi­cient to prove that the ac­tions de­picted were de­lib­er­ate.

A Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice spokesper­son said: “Ear­lier this year the po­lice re­ferred two files to the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice re­lat­ing to the Cheshire For­est Hunt.

“In both cases our pros- ecu­tor de­cided there was not enough ev­i­dence to pro­vide a re­al­is­tic prospect of a con­vic­tion.”

Cheshire For­est Hunt failed to re­spond to our re­quest for a com­ment.

In July the gov­ern­ment ruled out try­ing to lift the ban on fox hunt­ing ban for an­other two years.

Mean­while Labour MPs want a vote on tight­en­ing ex­ist­ing law.

Un­der the plans fox hunters could face five years in jail if they kill an­i­mals il­le­gally.

There have been 280 suc­cess­ful prose­cu­tions since the Hunt­ing Act came into force 12 years ago.

The in­ci­dent in Pen­ning­tons Lane in Fe­bru­ary

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